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Getting into Nature- Improve Children's Wellbeing
It’s been over a year since Lockdown started in the UK, for young people this has been a hard and confusing time, which will have probably had a negative impact on their wellbeing.
Taking the steps to getting children to have a positive mindset during this roadmap to being Covid-free can start by looking at ways children can get outside and into nature.
It’s always been known that being outside can aid in improving a child’s healthy mindset and lifestyle. Playing outdoors allows children to build in confidence and independence, growing and developing physically, emotionally and imaginatively.
That’s why we here at Guide to Life are so keen to get children back into nature as part of a holistic approach to improving their wellbeing with these tips.
- What is Tree Bathing?
Known as being a process of relaxation, Tree Bathing (Shrinrin-Yoku) was developed in Japan in the 1980s. The practice of Tree Bathing is quite simple to relax and calm your state of mind by being surrounded by trees, observing nature and taking deep mindful breaths. It is mostly seen as a form of meditation to de-stress in a natural environment.
How can Tree Bathing Help?
As mentioned before tree bathing can help de-stress and help maintain a healthy mental outlook. But how can tree bathing improve children’s wellbeing? Basking in the clean air and sunshine in the woods, and taking in natures delights can calm all of the negative thoughts to do with what has happened this year.
- Children can explore with their senses during this time to really interact with the outdoors the textures of the trees like bark and leaves feeling the differences and concentrating on how the texture makes them feel, taking 10 slow deep breathes and then bringing the focus back to the woods.
- Take your time walking through the woods and turn off electronic devices to really connect with nature. Wandering between the trees can be quite therapeutic.
- Being silent may attract wildlife be sure to bring some food for them to nibble on (have a quick search on what certain animals can and cannot eat) also, get children to think about the noises of wildlife what does it feel like to them, take a deep breath and smile, boosting children’s wellbeing.
BONUS- For more top tips on how to reap the benefits of Tree Bathing check out the National Trust’s website.
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is an outdoors recreational activity about finding specific points in the world. These points are usually outside in nooks and cranny’s and some are easier to find than others, but it’s all part of the fun. These points are usually filled with a piece of paper to sign that you have found the Geocache. However, sometimes people can leave behind sentimental or heart-warming trinkets that can be taken/swapped.
This is a really fun challenge for children to get involved in and develops their orienteering and psychological state of mind.
Turning geocaching into more of game by letting children roleplay that they are “pirates”, “spies” or “superheroes” can really let them get into the spirit of searching and being a child again, letting their imagination run wild and being in nature is the perfect way to encourage an balanced mind.
Easter Egg Hunt
The sun now shines a little brighter in the sky and Easter is just around the corner it’s the perfect excuse to get children outside to improve their wellbeing.
An Easter Egg Hunt is an egg-cellent activity to do in the garden set up specific hiding spots and gather individual baskets so children can put their treats inside– then let them go wild!
- Children can thrive on games and activities like these they are fun, dynamic and engaging.
You can also, set up egg hunts with family and friends (keeping in line with restrictions) an Easter Fitness Egg Hunt is perfect to make sure children get enough physical activity during the pandemic and improves children’s wellbeing too!
What is Tree Hugging?
Tree Hugging goes a lot deeper than just wrapping your arms around a random tree in the forest.
In actual fact, Tree Hugging is thought to relieve stress and bring a sense of calm and belonging to the hugger by increasing the levels of hormones they produce (oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine). It’s important to tree huggers to hug trees as it brings them closer to nature by holistically healing themselves.
How can Tree Hugging Help?
During the Pandemic a lot of people spoke about tree hugging and how it can help feel a beneficial factor when connection with others was limited, nature in turn in this time has become our salvation.
- For children, go out on a walk and get them to really emphasize what it means to give a hug.
- Make tree hugging into a game- like see who can hug the most trees and tell them they are practising for when we were allowed to give hugs again.
- By releasing more “happy hormones” tree hugging can accumulate to a positive outlook on children’s wellbeing even after the pandemic is over.
"50 Things to do before I'm 11 ¾"
We love the 50 Things to Do Before Your 11¾ Activity List produced by the National Trust.
As well as providing a list of inspiring activities, it helps support the content of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing that we use as a central pillar in our approach.
The 50 Things list is divided up into a few categories:
- Adventurer tasks
- Discoverer tasks
- Ranger tasks
- Tracker tasks
- Explorer tasks.
They range from the easily achieved, to those that need some planning.